2012 Botcon and SDCC eBay sales results

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Ray Kremer, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Ray Kremer

    Ray Kremer Well-Known Member

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    After doing this eBay/Botcon tracking thing for two years I swore I would never do it again. There was already enough data to show that waiting a month to buy was best and buying before 10 days after Botcon was foolish.

    Then came last year's Botcon. One of the on-site sets didn't sell out, which meant the leftovers would turn up in the Club store for everyone. I decided to wait for that to show up, buy it, and then go over to eBay to pick up the other two sets and the extra Primus package toy. Once into eBay, I happened to glance through some of the completed listings just to see how well the pattern was holding up. To my horror, I saw this. Well, only the first two months or so of it actually:

    [​IMG]

    Oh crap! New data that contradicts the existing hypothesis. There's only one thing to do. Collect more data.

    For the TL;DR crowd, something I said in the 2010 thread was prophetic: "Characters seem to matter A LOT." Fun Pub did Optimus Prime of all things in one of the on-site sets rather than in the box. That changes everything. I think you can accurately compare this to the Megatron/Rodimus set from the first Shattered Glass year in 2008, BOTH of which turned out to be highly in demand. If you toss out Optimus and look at everything else from 2012, the original advice holds up pretty well. Most toys will come down in price after the initial weekend and first week. Most years that works for all the toys. I don't know if any other characters have this same superstar status. So, it's a bit of a judgement call.

    ---

    First, the fine print. Notes and observations. This time I only took records for things I was actually buying off eBay. That means no Octopunch/Spinister set, but eBay sales on that died as soon as the convention was over since at that point everybody knew it would be in the club store. I didn't buy or track the Soundwave headband either because Fub Pub promised a second run for the club store, which to my knowledge still hasn't happened (dammit). And of course the box set itself was ordered long before as an Iacon package.

    I got started late, so while I managed to get all the sold completed listings going back to just prior to Botcon, the unsold completed listings were unavailable to me until I got more caught up. That's why you don't see many in the charts prior to 70 days out. I also missed a handful of auctions, about three hour's worth, on April 28 (Botcon Saturday) as I ran hard up against the expiration of completed listings. The auctions during the convention are pretty dense though, so you'd never know if I hadn't told you.

    I decided to tracking Best Offer sales separately again, I figured out that the auction page shows the accepted price while the completed search listing entry shows the original BiN asking price. Stuff is still out the window for multiple item BiN/BO listings though so that's still just approximate/iffy data. Also other various anomalies in eBay reporting, so this data is reasonably correct but not 100%. Then a few months ago eBay changed the way the completed listing display, so Best Offer numbers are completely missing, all you get is what the Buy It Now asking price was. Oh well.

    As always, there is no distinction made by me for sealed vs. opened items, though you generally don't see opened stuff start getting listed until a long time after Botcon anyway. There's theoretically a slight price hit to opened ones, but really, when you are trying to get a Botcon toy and the options are slim, are you going to quibble over that?

    Again as always, I included non-USA auctions, with the money converted to US Dollars by the eBay system for whatever the exchange rate happened to be the day I looked at it. There was some Canada but after a while most of the foreign currency stuff is out of Europe, and the US Dollar equivalent cost they ask is far above what the US sellers want for the same item. A lot of the very high graph points are from these. Most of the sellers out of Asia and a good portion of the ones out of Canada actually do their listings in US Dollars.

    I learned a new lesson about searching these things, always use as many name variants as possible, especially when Fun Pub was unable to keep the name straight. Not just bard or darkmount but also straxus and spraxus. Not just kickover but kickoff, kickout, and kick by itself.

    Once again Almar Enterprises had a ridiculous portion of these sales. Who are these guys? Of course they weren't the only ones that popped up a lot.

    Another interesting aspect that doesn't show in the graphs and that I haven't mentioned before is seeing Buy It Now listings with multiple items drop in price over time. The seller comes back and edits the price down if they don't all sell quickly enough. And then the twisted reversal that I've not seen before this year, auctions of Optimus and the Optimus/Kick set being edited UP in price. Also not at all revealed by the graphs because the dots overlap are multiple item Buy It Now auctions in which several, sometimes ALL, of the toys offered up by the seller are bought at once by one person.

    Something I guess I haven't brought up before but that is certainly a factor while trying to buy these things, especially during the intial frenzy, for in-demand items But It Now listings that are low-to-fair priced generally disappear quickly after they go up. The graphs after the fact show that they happened but in the middle of things you will generally see the auction listings show much higher sale prices because those are the only ones that hang around long enough for everyone to get a shot at them.

    Selling during the Botcon weekend seems to break into two camps: Min bid under a dollar and take what you get, and Buy It Now for a price that is a shot in the dark. Also note that for the first 24 hours of Botcon only Buy It Now sales can happen until the 1 day auctions start coming to term. One of the questions this raised for me, say you have a high demand item, min bid $100, after a bidding war it sells for $160. Had it instead been listed min bid $150, do you expect it to sell for $160, $210, or in between? In an attempt to answer this I started recording the min bid amounts, shown on the graphs (with shipping costs taken into account) as small white bars. You can see on the graphs that further out from Botcon, low min bid and high min bid auctions tend to end up about the same, but the question is mainly about what happens during the frenzy of the first week, and I haven't made any unsquished graphs for that time period yet so I don't have the answer right now.

    I had thought that the 2011 set was a representation of a popular set, giving more of a TF line that was cut off in its prime (no pun intended) to eager fans, while 2012's looked to me to be a lackluster set, going back to the well of shattered glass was becoming tiresome and offered little that was special. I think the eBay sales that I saw in the end proved me wrong. I don't know if I just misjudge what the fans want or if the exclusives have just become habit for a lot of us regardless of what they actually are. The upcoming 2013 theme also doesn't have anything that strikes me as particularly amazing, but I'm sure the overall demand will be roughly the same as it's been these past few years.

    ---

    Okay, the graphs:

    [​IMG]

    The big smushed mess in the beginning is par for the course, nothing special there really, but other than a few outliers it absolutely never goes lower than the first week's 1 day and Buy It Now auctions. Even the initial leveled-off price becomes the new lower bound when prices start going up again later on. This is madness, but a madness entirely of our own doing.

    [​IMG]

    Breaking up the set became extra popular since people mainly cared about the Optimus. You can see the same initial leveling-off and subsequent new increase as with the pair, but much more clearly. Only in recent months have things showed a hint of dropping again, still topping the first-week prices but noticeably below what the prices were at their peak. You'll note the low min bid prices, something that has often been death for a seller after the initial frenzy for any other toy, are still in full effect.

    I bought mine for $153.15, which seemed like a lot at the time for a single deluxe out of a paired set given historical prices for those, but it was still on the low side compared to where prices went after that.

    [​IMG]

    I would say "Poor unwanted Kick-whatever", but the prices are remarkably steady. I think perhaps there isn't the usual drop because for once it failed to become substantially overpriced during the first week. $80-100 for a deluxe size exclusive that isn't particularly special has been pretty much the normal level-off price these past few years, maybe people had that in mind even during the frenzy. Though it's also hard to tell what factor being the bag-mate to Optimus Prime had on things.

    I paid $82.55.

    [​IMG]

    The Junkion trio, notable among recent troop builder three packs for having distinct heads rather than merely distinct bio cards. I would say this is entirely in pattern with what we've come to expect. You do see the quite noticeable drop in price for actual sold sets once you get past the first month or so. In fact people who waited several months have the advantage here.

    I bought mine for $185.66, just slightly prior to when the prices started dropping off.

    [​IMG]

    The extra toy for Primus people who actually made the trip out. Again pretty much exactly in pattern with the previous two years.

    Cost me $86.05. Again, like the Junkions, it got a little lower afterwards. Now that I have year-long records for two Botcons, it does seem like one to two months afterwards is smart, but three or more months afterwards is smarter. For everything except Optimus Prime, that is. Even though the field thins out quite a bit compared to the first two weeks, if you are paying attention all the opportunities are there.

    [​IMG]

    The customization class toy. As always, a mix of sellers that were actually there and sellers in China who have the main components related to the original mold but not the stickers and extra stuff. I seem to recall reading something about 2013's customization class toy also being produced assembled and will be offered up along with the other on-site exclusives. This is because the classes are so limited in capacity and so a lot of people have always missed out. I'm a little curious as to whether the experience of building the toy by hand is really that special or if people have just been mainly interested in the toy itself and whatever they have to do to get one. Maybe now we'll find out.

    (Though I have managed to get a hold of the kits for some of the previous year's custom class toys, this one didn't grab me I guess and I left it alone.)

    SDCC!

    Last year's San Diego Comic Con featured the deluxe zombie Cliffjumper, the huge and expensive (unprecedented compared to other TF SDCC exclusives of recent years) game-accurate-colored Bruticus, and the GI Joe crossover thing that I decided not to bother with even though it was super cool. Only Cliffjumper lasted long enough on the Hasbro online store for most everybody to have a chance to get him. Since I had to resort to eBay for Bruticus anyway, I figured, what the hell.

    The first thing you notice is SDCC is all about the presales. Botcon gets some preselling of the box sets too, but nothing like this. I'm quite certain the presales extend beyond where I was able to start taking records. Also, I gave up on the SDCC listings after a while, so it only extends to a month afterwards.

    I'm not sure how the sellers pull it off since as far as I know getting the exclusive on the SDCC show floor is usually itself really difficult, unlike Botcon where you know how many Primus tickets you've purchased. Reading the listings it's like they claim they are professional SDCC toy buyers. Given what I've heard about the lines, and having to win lotteries just to stand in some of the lines, these guys either represent a massive force of people or they have deals worked out. I guess if people get their toys in the end it's okay, but something still seems shady about it to me. Some state "we've never failed" others say "will refund (sometimes more than you paid) if we can't get one". There is something to be said for waiting for the "have it in hand" sellers. The other factor here is the statute of limitations on registering a complaint for an unreceived item is only 45 days. For this reason eBay rules explicitly state that any presale item must be expected to ship within 30 days of the sale date. I can't tell you how many sellers completely ignore this. Some even repeat the policy in the auction in order to imply or outright claim compliance with it, and then state that the item will ship out right after SDCC is over, despite SDCC being well over 30 days away at the time the auction went up. I read an example in the eBay help pages of a 10 day presale auction starting 39 days before the seller would have the item in hand and ready to ship. At least one seller tried to twist this into a claim that a multiple item Buy It Now listing that expires after 30 days can be up 60 days prior to shipping. Never mind the fact that with a Buy It Now the sale dates have nothing to do with the listing expires. I saw other listings that were put up even further than 60 days out anyway. Word to the wise, then, even though these guys are generally trustworthy and generally do follow through, don't preorder things on eBay more than 30 days out if you want to have the buyer protection you normally expect.

    So, the graphs?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Being a veteran of Botcon graphs there's not too much to say here. Fairly tight clustering of prices for Bruticus presales that extends into the first week, then it goes up. I paid $195 for mine. For Cliffjumper, presale prices start to drop off before the show and continued to afterwards. I think there's an opportunity to make a similar "popularity-wise is this a normal exclusive or a 2012 Optimus Prime level exclusive?" judgement call here, and indeed Cliffjumper isn't THAT special while the game-accurate Bruticus is really the preferred one to have out of the four color schemes the set of molds were ultimately released in. People have gone similarly bonkers for both of the GI Joe/TF crossover sets so far and probably will again this year.

    However it's a little more clear cut. For Botcon if you don't make the trip out you are hostage to eBay for everything except the Box set, with the rare exception of on-site sets that don't sell out. For SDCC the people who stay home have a chance at all the exclusives at the online store, at least in theory. Assuming Hasbro at least tries to allocate a decent quantity of everything to the online store, if it sells out there in less than an hour you know to head straight to eBay before prices go up, which they definitely will. With Botcon, the first week frenzy on Optimus, the lowest prices would ever be, looks entirely the same at the first week frenzies of everything else, which for those are the highest prices would ever be.

    ---

    So, I hope that this time we've seen an example of every eventuality and I don't have to do this for any more Botcons or San Diego Comic Cons. If you're buying exclusive toys the idea of being frugal is sort of out the window anyway, but with some correct judgements and a little luck, you can keep your exclusive toys cost as low as possible. I think this year I may just wait until fall or winter to buy my Botcon toys, unless an Optimus or Megatron level character shows up.

    ---

    Addendum: The Club subscription Scourge showed up late last week. I decided to try my hand at this exclusives selling thing so I'm in for three subscriptions. Using what I've learned from all this eBay logging I put my two extra Scourges up over the weekend and am looking at a handy profit. These things cost a little under $50 each from the club when you break it down. After checking the running and completed auctions (there weren't very many yet at the time), I set up a 1 day auction for $100 min bid with $140 Buy It Now. The first one sold Buy It Now within a few hours, I relisted it, and the second one sold for over $160 to someone in Taiwan.

    Of course Scourge is the one character out of the six that is in the most demand. We'll see how the rest go. Hopefully I can at least break even on the low-demand ones. I think I'll take a gander at the running eBay costs for Scourge for a while but I hope I won't be tempted to start logging them. The subscription figures, much like the Botcon box sets, were pretty much available to anybody that wanted to preorder, but the box sets always sell on eBay along with everything else so these should be no different.
     

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  2. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the data. I've seen you do this each year and its really helpful, even when I'm not interested in all the toys.

    I ended up getting my SG Junkions for about $150 2 months out, then later saw they had dropped to about $140.

    I've also been watching the Animated set, and it seems like its dropped even more now. When auctions start at $1, they end at about $30-$40 for each fig, but most people list them with a BIN of $60 or $80, and sometimes they'll sell for that.
     
  3. zelse

    zelse Well-Known Member

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    I think this further proves that trying to predict prices is impossible. I couldn't believe that SG G2 Prime is the big seller in that set. I like being able to see graphs of the information of pricing though. I look forward to your Scourge graphs.
     
  4. msterling21

    msterling21 Well-Known Member

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    How did you get the data from so far back? I've always wanted to do this type of analysis.
     
  5. Spider 001

    Spider 001 Widow's Edge

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    All I know is I got totally screwed on Razorclaw. Paid top dollar for the set (I really only wanted Elita-1) & he ended up being a worthless piece of crap.
     
  6. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    He starts logging it as soon as the toys show up on ebay, but doesn't publish for a year.
     
  7. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Great graphs and analysis as always. Can you do me a favor and graph the average cost of acquiring Optimus + Kick-off + Junkions + Staxus at any point in time? That should remove some of the uncertainty with determining which character will be popular.

    Also please put a vertical line at the end of August 2012 for when the commandos were officially announced and the end of January 2013 for when the were first released.

    Thanks.
     
  8. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    There also used to be programs a couple years ago that save the data but they stopped being free.
     
  9. optimaliii

    optimaliii Well-Known Member

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    I was at SDCC last year. Honestly, it wasn't that crazy waiting in line for Hasbro's booth. On the first night, they cut the line off after a certain point because it was getting ridiculous. After that, you had get into a line to get a ticket from them for buying, set for a certain time. This part of the process could be repeated if necessary. But they marked and dated your pass. And you got a catalogue, which would be dated and marked at the time of purchase, to show when you first purchased, and what you purchased, so you didn't go over their limits.

    Some people were stalking the line, asking if anyone wasn't buying certain items, and then giving them the money with maybe a little extra, to get whatever. Some dealers were just straight up offering more than what you paid, then turning around and selling them at an even higher price.
     
  10. Ray Kremer

    Ray Kremer Well-Known Member

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    So here's this:

    [​IMG]

    That's actually pretty much exactly what you would expect. It's pretty tight in the early weeks, later on in the year there's more vertical spread on the final bids.

    Subscription Scourge! There's not a massive outpouring of him on eBay, but the current and completed auctions as it stands right now trends in the $100-$160 range. The question is if and when that will start going down. If not a lot of people actually bought extras in order to flip on eBay, there may not be enough of them around to really see the phenomenon we get with Botcon toys. I think a lot of people may have just gone to BBTS, who knows how many sets they ordered. They always make an effort on the Botcon stuff too but I recall always thinking their prices on those are higher even than eBay.

    Botcon 2013! I just found out that the identities and a couple photos of the on-site toys have slipped out. My predictions: The custom class toy is Blastcharge Strika Drone, I don't think that's going to light anybody on fire with excitement. I await clarification on the non-class distribution of it, though. The Primus extra toy is Starscream. Those toys are usually not big deals but Starscream very well could be, he's a top tier character. I plan on buying it early. The two paired sets are Electro and Sandstorm, and Mirage and Thundercracker. The Mirage and Thundercracker set will sell better than the other one for being important G1 characters but won't set any records. The troopbuilder 3 pack is rainmakers. Also not something that will light any excitement fires. Autotrooper rank rather than Sweeps, Sharkticons or Junkions. There's also some Kreo thing I guess. Probably nothing major.

    Sure! Same warning as when I did this last year, I don't know an easy way to get Excel to do this based on math, so I just eyeballed these numbers. It's good enough for a rough idea. First, were you better off buying Optimus and Kick O-whatever separately or together?

    [​IMG]

    Together, then. So using that line to represent that pair:

    [​IMG]

    The Junkion and Bard lines are pretty flat in comparison, so all the "total" line really tells us is that Optimus was volatile.

    Not sure what you mean.

    I don't know what commandos you are referring to or the relevance of those dates, but here's the relevant numbers to draw the lines yourself:
    August 31 2012 is day 127
    January 31 2013 is day 280

    So that's how it's done. From what I've heard not all the exclusive booths operate like Hasbro does. I know I've heard of needing to win a lottery just to be able to stand in certain lines.
     

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  11. Foster

    Foster Haslab Unicron Backer #10 Veteran

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    Fascinating analysis as always. Thanks again for sharing!
     
  12. CodeXCDM

    CodeXCDM Well-Known Member

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    Just curious... but do you have any data pertaining to SG Prime/Magnus now that there's a 3rd Party Battle Tanker to go with both?

    I ask because take the old Energon Bruticus Maximus figures... most didn't particularly care for it... until there was a set to *greatly* improve the overall looks. (And TBH, the Deluxe RTS/G2 Prime mold is greatly improved with a Battle Tanker.) Similarly the SG Rodimus figure and the limited Shadow Scyther Armor was being sold at 500 bucks on eBay now and then... so it'd be curious to see if there's any relationship/inflation on prices...
     
  13. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ray,

    The commandos are the add-on kits from Maketoys for the Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime. Going into Botcon week (04/2012) the kit already existed for RTS Prime so everyone was expecting a repaint for the Botcon items. That probably explains why SG Optimus never dropped below the 1st week price. August 2012 (point 127) is when Maketoys officially announced the kit and not coincidentally that is the lowest the Prime ever went. It looks like it took about a month for that information to filter through the fandom or maybe it was when we started getting pictures of the retools but that's when his price started shooting up.

    Maketoys Battle Tanker for RTS Optimus (11/2011)
    Maketoys Commando for SG Ultra Magnus (01/2013)
    Maketoys Sentinel for SG G2 Optimus (01/2013)

    There are no add-ons for this year's set so I expect them to follow the traditional trend.

    The only other set I can think of that may vary is the 2011 core animated set. There were rumors of an add-on kit but none actually existed. It won't be as high as Prime who already had an existing kit but I would expect that set's trend to be a little higher then normal for the first couple of months but then also drop later on as no news came out. Did you do the data for the animated stunticons?
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  14. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    That's a misconception about Energon Bruticus. He was commanding a decent price before the add-ons. The add-ons just increased it.

    The ROTF Bruticus was getting steady business at retail $30. It's just that Target pulled one of it's surprise clearance that a lot of people missed out of him.

    And of course, two weeks later Fansproject made the $7 Bruticus worth $150-$200. It's crazy. . . (I exagerrate, it took a year for Bruticus to hit that high, when the add-on first came out he could be had for $50-$60).
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  15. Ray Kremer

    Ray Kremer Well-Known Member

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    Aha, the effect of the third party add-on trailers are something I hadn't considered before.

    Pretty much all the data I have is on the table, there's nothing for toys from before 2010. If anybody wants a copy of my Excel files though, I can provide. I didn't even look at the 2012 box set toys, I did that in 2011 and it was mostly uneventful and a lot of extra work. But you're right, given the Ultra Magnus colored third party trailer it's a damn shame that I don't have any data on him.

    I seem to recall SG Rodimus being pretty damn popular and high priced even before Shadow Scyther came out, though Shadow Scyther did send people into panic levels to get an SG Rodimus and the price suddenly went astronomical.

    Nice call on the announcement matching up with the big price spike.

    Two things come to mind, mainly. One, Optimus Prime is still a big damn deal even without a trailer or armor or what have you. Two, these days damn near every Optimus toy from Hasbro and not connected to the current cartoon show has gotten at least one third party trailer/armor/etc anyway.

    You can see my 2011 charts here. I distinctly remember a great many auctions for the stunticon set promising that a third party combiner add-on set would soon arise that would drive the value of the toys up. I also remember thinking that I'd heard no announcement of any such thing but surely one of the third party groups was working on it. As it turns out, of course, none of them did.

    I think you both are right though, we've seen too many examples of third-party add ons driving up the secondary market price of even toys that had been retail releases (the ur-example is probably Classics Ultra Magnus and the City Commander third party trailer/armor that began the trend), so it's bound to be a double whammy on toys that are Botcon exclusives of major characters.
     
  16. Reflector Prime

    Reflector Prime Well-Known Member

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    This is really cool, but if you just woke up and realized characters matter, than I don't know what to tell you. That's the only reason Transformers is still around: the characters.
     
  17. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    That another example of people mis-remembering things. Six months before the annoucement of Shadow Scyther I put my SG Hot Rod on ebay at $120 and he didn't sell. Wildrider was around $200 though. Two months before Shadow Scyther I managed to snag a Wildrider for $150. At $120-$150, Hot Rod was high but nowhere near the $250+ mark he hit with Shadow Scyther.

    EDIT: To be exact, I put Megatron/Rodimus together for $200 and nobody bit.

    Yes, Optimus was a big deal. Moreso because it was SG Optimus. I heard plenty of people say "I'll never have an 08 Optimus so I might as well get this one." That set the initial high prices. I'm surprised at how stable he was though during months 2-5.

    If you look at the average I ask to do though it still has the same conclusion. There was no better time to buy Optimus so looking for Botcon items on average is still best done in months 2-6.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  18. CodeXCDM

    CodeXCDM Well-Known Member

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    Well either way... this info's worth noting... both for those intending to buy, and those that wanna sell... so kudos. :thumb 

    Wonder how the Subscription figures will fair... ATM just taking a quick glance... two folks were silly enough to sell Scourge at 75 and 100 bucks... with the rough average around 130. (And FWIW, there's an auction with 11 bids at almost 160 bucks! You might as well have gotten the TFCC subscription if you're gonna pay almost 200 for the one figure!)
     
  19. Aberration

    Aberration Templar Rodimus

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    Thanks for the analysis, I've always been hoping that someone would study and break down these trends, and I really appreciate this.

    Considering how time-consuming the HTS.com game is (wait for items to appear, hope to succeed at ordering, otherwise wait for more to be put up in small amounts throughout the week), while eBay prices will continue to rise, would you say that it might be better to just go straight to eBay?
     
  20. Superquad7

    Superquad7 OCP Police Crime Prevention Unit 001 Super Content Contributor

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    EXCELLENT work here ans thanks for sharing!